More than a Massage: The Alchemy of Touch

One of the things I often hear from people is that they don’t know “how to” give a massage.

The concept of a massage implies that there is a “how to”, some way of doing it, a sense of getting it right or wrong. Massage suggests a form or structure to be followed, technique and so on. And this can be wonderful to learn (lord knows I’ve invested enough time and energy over the years in doing so!). However, it can also get in the way of enjoying one of the most basic and yet alchemical human experiences… touch.

EmbraceSomeone can have studied a massage form, but if they are not really present with the experience they may have a poor quality of touch. Whereas someone else might have no concept of massage technique but their loving presence makes their touch rich with aliveness and sensitivity.

It is this presence and aliveness that makes touch a truly ecstatic and exquisite experience. It is the meeting of two beings in an encounter of skin on skin.

It is well documented that babies require touch and loving physical contact in order to develop and grow into healthy children.

“Touch is in fact food. With regards to bodywork and massage, skin to skin contact, when slowly and sensitively applied, is as vital to our development as mothers milk.” ~Bernhard Guenther

However, as we grow from children to adults, we can become “touch deprived”. If we have a lover, partner or good friend who enjoys physical intimacy then we may have the opportunity to share loving touch on a regular basis. But many people are not in this position and so have a deep yearning to touch and be touched.

There is an alchemical force – a magic – in the moment when touch is offered with loving presence, an open heart and no expectation of what needs to or should happen.

So I was inspired to share 3 pathways to transform your touch into an ecstatic experience…

1. Touch yourself

Many people are so keen to get their hands on someone else’s body, that they have no idea how their own touch feels. It may feel a bit funny at first to touch yourself. But if you can’t enjoy connecting with your own body – and know what feels good – then how can you really give to another?

hoding_hands_smallStart simply with your forearm. With your other hand, explore different kinds of strokes – using first the palm of your hand to sweep over the skin for a few moments, then a light caress with the tops of your fingertips. Experiment with different speeds and notice what feels good. It’s quite common for people to rush their touch so see how slowly you can stroke over your skin and become exquisitely aware of the sensations.

Notice the difference between stroking downward on the arm (towards your hand) and upwards (towards your heart). Become aware of the different textures on the outside of the arm (the part that is exposed more often to the sun and elements) and the inside of the arm (the soft tender parts that are less exposed).

There is so much to experience just on an arm! Once you have spent time here, take your exploration of touch all round the rest of your body. Include every part, don’t leave anything out!

2. Open your mouth and breathe

Often when we get stuck in our heads with thoughts (such as “Am I doing this right?” “Do they like it? What should I do next?”), we are quite literally stuck in our heads. The jaw is tense and clamped shut and the breath is shallow or being held.

The simplest way to release this stuckness is to open your mouth and relax your jaw, which creates a corresponding openness in the pelvic area. Take deep breaths right down into your belly, allowing each exhale to be released from your mouth with a sigh (or a growl or an ‘ahhhh’ if that’s how you’re feeling!)

Once you’ve done this a few times you will notice that you feel more relaxed and at ease (if not then keep breathing fully and deeply until you do!). Breath gives us ‘inspiration’ (literally “the breath of spirit”) so there’s no need to think of “what to do” next. Let the breath guide the way.

3. Let their body massage yours

In massage there is a tendency to think that one person is ‘doing’ the massage to the other. And if someone books with a professional therapist this is entirely appropriate and correct.

The Art of EEM ImageHowever, when touch is being shared between friends or lovers, then we can be open to the idea that both share in the enjoyment of the experience. As much as you are massaging them with your hands, they are massaging your hands with their body.

As your hands meet their body, allow yourself to revel in the contact. Really feel their skin touching yours. Receive feedback through your senses from their body as to what feels good. This ‘loop’ of feedback flowing from one to the other, transforms this experience from someone ‘doing’ something to the other, into a state of blissful being for both.

Break out of the pattern of massaging with only your hands and bring your whole body into the experience. Your forearms, your breath, your hair, your breasts/chest can all be delicious tools of pleasure and connection.

At our massage workshops many people say that giving the massage was just as nourishing and profound as receiving one – and this is the reason why!

“The skin is the surface of the brain; to touch the surface is to stir the depths. I cannot touch an organism’s skin anywhere without arousing that organism’s entirety. That is to say, the skin on one hand a primary boundary of our physical selves, and on the other hand a primary threshold of interactions that connect our inner world with the world around us in many ways. The stimulation of this threshold is as necessary to us as water, food, or oxygen. Without adequate stimulation of our skins we will languish. Infants sufficiently deprived of touch perish, regardless of being fed and sheltered. Slightly more, but still inadequate touch results in “deprivation dwarfism,” with severe abnormalities of development that closely mimic those caused by chronic malnutrition. Adults experimentally deprived of tactile sensations become psychologically deranged. There is indeed “something in the touch of flesh with flesh” without which we simply cannot thrive.” ~ Deane Juhan

 

Getting Elementary: Simple Acts of Sacredness

My Guest Post for Sacred Pleasures

I had the pleasure of being asked to contribute to the Sacred Pleasures blog recently with a guest post on a subject that is close to my heart. I hope you enjoy experiencing this subject through your own world.

Could everything be sacred?

mandalaIt’s certainly one way of perceiving the world. When we look around with eyes that see the sacred in everything, the world becomes enriched with beauty and magic. The significance with which we imbue simple actions can become a powerful act in our lives. Everything has the potential to become a gateway to our connection to Spirit.

Many people have lost touch with the sacred in life, and so we lose a sense of the magic in things. Look at the way we use substances such as alcohol, tobacco and marijuana. These have been used by tribal leaders, shamans, mystics and devotees to access ecstatic states and other realms of consciousness. They had a sacred use in ceremony. In our society, these same substances are often used in a mundane way; to numb, to distract, or for relaxation from the stresses and strains of the day.

The same can be said for sex. We can do it with intention, awareness and awe at the bliss we feel; or we can simply satisfy a physical urge. Now there’s nothing wrong with a quickie but if that’s all we ever experience, we could be missing some of expansive potential available to us through our sexual energy when intended as a sacred act…

To read on, head over to the Sacred Pleasures blog

9 Erogenous Zones You Didn’t Know You Had

Which parts of the body do you think of when you hear the words “erogenous zone”?

Your lips, your breasts, your sexy bits?

For sure these are all deliciously sensitive and sensual parts of the body, but they are not the only deliciously sensitive and sensual parts of the body.

Our skin is receptive to stimulation all over and there are many places where nerve endings are concentrated and have a heightened sensitivity. Lovingly stimulating these areas can create sexual arousal (Note the emphasis on loving stimulation. If you just randomly try them out on someone you might get a very different response!)

The lips, breasts and genitals are the primary layer of a whole cake of erotic expression. There are secondary and tertiary erogenous zone located all over the body and bringing them into erotic play expands your arousal and heightens pleasure. (For an in-depth understanding of the Tantric perception of erogenous zones, read “the Essence of Tantric Sexuality” by Mark A. Michaels and Patricia Johnson).

Interestingly, although the lips, breasts and genitals are the primary erogenous zones, it doesn’t mean you should go there first. In fact, you can arouse your lover more fully by playing with the secondary erogenous zones first. Then tease them with some touch to the primary areas before going back to the secondary zones, and so on. This is definitely a case of leave the best till last and if you want someone to be putty in your hands, it could be the way to go…

The nape of the neck – in particular the area where the hairline meets the skin. Try softly breathing on this area or planting a tender kiss to send shivers down your lover’s spine. If your beloved has long hair, holding it in your hand and tugging gently as you bare their neck to your mouth can be highly erotic.

The ears – much underrated, the ears have a whole host of nerve endings just waiting for pleasure. The ear lobes even become engorged, just as the genitals do, during sexual arousal. Try sucking and nibbling the earlobes either as a prelude or during love-making to send your beloved sky high.

A tongue tracing lightly around the ear cavity can also be delicious. But do be careful to go gently and gauge your beloved’s response. A sloppy lick as if from your favourite dog is not going to cut it.

The crook of the elbow – gently kiss the inside of the elbow to stimulate this area. There is also something tender and devotional about loving this neglected part of the body so there’s a beautiful element of surprise connected to this act.

The little finger – remember that first time your beloved brushed against your hand and it was totally electric? Well that’s probably because they made contact with the super sensitive skin on the outside of your little finger. Try lightly stroking or nibbling the ‘edge’ of the hand, especially the area where the little finger meets the palm of the hand.

The palm of the hand – Light circles traced on the palm of the hand can also be delicious. Once your beloved is already feeling aroused, try circling their palm in a counter clockwise direction and watch their response!

446x280xToque-Sensual-Sensual-Touch-black-n-white-xxx-cinas77_large-1.jpg.pagespeed.ic.cx6Dak82mfThe crease of the buttocks – the place where the top of the thighs meets the fleshy mounds of the bum. This fold can respond to both very light and very vigourous touch so experiment with both. When giving a massage, try vibrating this area with your fingers. Place your whole hand at the top of the thigh so that the middle finger rests along the crease and your thumb and forefinger cup the buttocks. Start with a slow rhythmic rocking motion then gradually increase the speed until you are vibrating the cheeks. Then suddenly lift your hand away and give a moment of space for them to feel the energy you have raised in this area. Divine!

The inner thighs – as a general principle, the tender skin on the “inside” of the body is more sensitive than the thicker skin on the “outside”. Notice the different texture of the skin as you lightly stroke your beloved. Hot Tip: stroke in an upward direction, towards the sex but not touching it, to build arousal.

The back of the knees – believe it or not there are thousands of nerve endings in this area. Try stroking or gentle scratches here. Especially good when giving a sensual massage as it’s often a revelation to find so much exciting sensation there.

The skin between the first and second toes – the feet actually have many erogenous zones and sexual stimulation points but to really surprise your lover, try stimulating the area of skin in between the first and second toes. If you enjoy a bit of toe-sucking, then also use your tongue to flick over this area and arouse. Or try inserting your forefinger into the space with a gliding and twisting motion to send your beloved off into the stratosphere!

So play, explore and have fun with these areas. Remember everyone is different so be curious and open to what your lover most enjoys.

Of course there are many other erogenous zones in the body. Which is your favourite and how do you like it to be touched?

The Nature of Sex

Modern life can be kind of sanitised and sterile, especially if you live in the city.

SpringIn our air-conditioned offices, and apartments with gleaming glass windows, we have become so separated from nature that we can often be afraid of getting dirty, sticky or wet. A small rain shower can become a disaster, and a stain on our expensive attire could mark the end of the day.

But if we are challenged by this messiness in our day-to-day lives, how can we handle it when it comes to the business of our bodies, and…sex?

“Sex is part of nature. I go along with nature” – Marilyn Monroe 

I think the answer is to go back to where it all started. To the place where dirty, sticky, smelly and occasionally wet is the norm. To reconnect with that which is not ashamed by its own messiness and realness. To immerse ourselves in nature.

So can nature be…sexy?

Here are a few ways to find out…

Get Dirty

Got a green space or woodland near your work or home? Great. Take yourself there.

Walk Get Dirtybarefoot on the ground. Put your hands in some earth or pick up a bunch of wet leaves and let your fingers fully feel them. Place your face in the grass and sniff it. Hug a tree! It’s cool. Everyone is doing it these days.

Or if you’re feeling like going all the way, why not take a pee… outdoors…. Yup. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of cool air on your bits as you release a part of your nature back to where it came from. Try fully embracing your naughty side and enjoy the illicit thrill that you might be caught. Some clever photographer made a series of photos of her peeing adventures in nature, making it more than just a convenient place to wee when on holiday, now peeing in nature is art.

In case you are wondering, your urine contains nutrients that are beneficial to the earth. If the thought of peeing in nature fills you with shock, dread or embarrassment, then I really recommend you head straight for your nearest park or woodland right now and experience what your ancestors used to call the loo.

Get Ecosexual

Mark Henson

We all know the concept of the Earth as our Mother, but what if we start thinking about the Earth as our Lover? How would that change the way you relate to the world around you?

The Sex-ecology movement was founded by former porn-star and current eco-activist Annie Sprinkle, in collaboration with artist and activist Elizabeth M. Stephens. Whether you identify as heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, transsexual, pansexual or asexual, Ecosex is for everyone.

The Ecosex Manifesto was designed to create the desire in others to love, cherish and honor the earth as they would their own lover. Get inspired and join the revolution here.

Get Porny

As human beings, most of us just can’t help being attracted to sexual energy. So why not use this fascination to save the planet? That’s exactly what the eco-porn activists at “Fuck for Forest” decided to do.

Proving that “not all porn is the same”, Fuck for Forest encourage real people of any gender, body type or sexual orientation to submit photographs and videos of themselves in “different sexy expressions and real erotic adventures”. Members pay a subscription to view and the funds go to eco projects. Expect to see lots of bushes of all varieties. Discover more at – fuckforforest.com

Go with the flow

If you’ve been feeling lately that your sexual enGet pornyergy has been dormant, fear not. Nature moves in cycles and so do we. There are times when we might experience a sense of hibernation, a desire to go inwards to stillness and rest. After Winter always comes Spring and tapping into the aliveness of nature might be just what you need to get your sap rising.

Right enough of being in front of this computer, I’m off to frolic in nature!

Finding Your Fire

In the words of Salt-N-Pepa’s hit 90’s song…Let’s talk about sex.

Or more specifically… let’s talk about your sexual energy!

How well do you think you “own” your sexual energy?

Is it an embodied part of your being? Can you connect with it when you choose? Is it a fire that burns deeply as a way that you truly connect with life? Or does it only ignite through some kind of external stimuli?

When I look around at our society, where sex is a commodity that is used to sell everything from ice-cream to cars, it is clear that sexual energy is everywhere. Except the most important place… inside of us.

How we lost our connection…

As human beings with a biological make up we can’t help but be attracted to the power of sexual energy. It’s a potent force! The most creative energy there is. This very same energy brought a new being into the world (that’s you in case you’re wondering).

None of us would be here if it wasn’t for the power of sex, and yet we have a highly paradoxical and confusing relationship towards our sexuality. Sexual energy is everywhere but, when it comes to being connected to it in our bodies, we are taught to be disconnected from it through shame, shyness and social conditioning.

I'm aroused

It seems that it’s perfectly ‘acceptable’ for sex to be shown in a soft-porn style music video, but it’s still not acceptable for us to be sexually alive in our bodies. We can be scantily or provocatively clad, but not naked. We’re exhorted to have a better sex life, yet still shy away from having natural open conversations about sex.

It’s a topic that has got a lot of people thinking recently, and a subject that was brought even further to light by Russell Brand’s Trews video on porn.

How can we take our power back?

So I want to ask the question… what would the world be like if we truly ‘owned’ our sexuality as a natural part of our being? What if our erotic energy was not just a source of pleasure, but a limitless well of vitality, power, inspiration, creativity and connection?

In many ways it’s a question of where your sexual energy is being directed. Most people have never consciously tried to harness their sexual energy. Even with wisdom about the importance of using this incredible energy to heal, and create business and financial success being shared through books like Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill since the 1930s.

‘The emotion of sex contains the secret of creative ability.’ – Napoleon Hill

Instead most people simply expend it while mentally re-living previous ‘hot’ encounters or indulging in erotic fantasies. But it is possible to draw upon the potent power of sexual energy and use it towards our highest good.

Woman_Of_Fire_Abstract_52“Are you ready to use your sexuality as the engine for rocket fuel to reach Spirit into Heaven and to let that bliss integrate into your daily life?” – Alex Vartman

Often people feel that they need to express their sexuality in relation to another person. Of course, that can be really delicious, but really the first person we need to express our sexuality with is ourself! If we are not comfortable with our sexuality, how can we share it with another? If we don’t know how to ignite our own fire, why should we expect someone else to do it for us?

Doing it for ourselves

Believe it or not, the fastest and easiest way to spark up your sexual energy is through the breath. Yes, simply breathing! We do it every moment of every day, yet the breath is a portal to expanded states of ecstatic experience.

Simple steps to feeling more alive:

  1. For just a few minutes, breathe through your mouth without any gaps in the breaths. Focus on the inhale and let the exhale just drop out. So, when you inhale, suck air into your body and when you exhale, simply let it go (you might find a little ‘ah’ sound naturally comes out of your mouth).
  2. Try for a few minutes till you get the hang of it.
  3. Then experiment with taking some faster, fuller breaths.
  4. Notice how you’re feeling in this moment. Any tingling sensations or buzziness? Notice the environment around you. Do things look brighter, clearer or different?

 

When we movWoman feeling goode into an ecstatic state, we start to expand our energy field. That might sound a bit “woo woo” but remember a time when you enjoyed a really good sexual experience and think about how you felt. The world probably looked like a better and brighter place. Old problems and concerns may have vanished and new solutions might have popped up in their place.

From that place of energised relaxation, life feels different.

Learning the art of lighting your own fire

This awareness of the power of the breath is why I created a workshop dedicated to connecting with our own innate ability to tune into our sexual energy, and through the simplest way possible.

In our much loved clothes on Energygasm workshops I guide you through the most simple and natural ways to find that place within yourself where your sexual energy both lives, and thrives, and to allow it to safely be expressed and harnessed to bring about the experience of aliveness that we all seek.

You don’t have to wait for someone else to be there to create this kind of experience, you can give it to yourself. When you allow yourself to move into a state of expanded erotic awareness, you can start to break free from the limitations of the world you usually inhabit and connect with a higher vibration that opens you up to new potential.

We all have the power to feel completely alive and connected. I wish you exquisite ecstasy as you explore this new awareness.

“Living from our hearts, letting go of what we think we know and celebrating our bodies and our sexuality without shame is our birthright. This is the beginning of the true path to freedom, a raising of consciousness and an un-layering of social conditioning that binds us all within a limited context of experience and pleasure.”- Andrew Barnes

 

 

Exploring Sensuality

The 4 S’s of Sensual Massage

Giving a really great sensual massage is not only a wonderful gift to your chosen other, but can also leave you feeling juicy and euphoric too. And if it is a prelude to love-making, then it really is the gift that keeps on giving 😉

Often people can feel shy to give a massage if they haven’t learned how to do it. But don’t worry, no formal training is required to become a sensational sensualist! All it takes it some willingness and a sense of playfulness, and you can easily get the erotic energy flowing.

Here are four key ways to get started with sensual massage:

Stroke – There are two basic styles of massage strokes that can used virtually all over the body. You don’t even need massage oil to do them! Try them out on yourself before trying on your partner to feel the difference between each stroke.

The first is what I call “Earth Touch” for its connecting and grounding quality. Use the palm of your hand4handsfeet_large to sweep over the skin. Allow your fingers to be soft and loose so that they don’t press into the body but rather trail over it as you move. Essentially you are leading the stroke with the palm of your hands. From time to time you might stop and allow your palms to settle on a part of the body. And simply breathe. Then carry on with sweeping over the skin.

The second is what I call “Air Touch” for its feather-light and tingling quality. Use the very tips of your fingers to stroke over the body. Again, allow your fingers to be soft and loose so that they tantalise the body rather than press down into it.

Some tips for exploration and experimentation – strokes going down the body can create a sense of soothing and relaxation, whilst strokes going up the body create a sense of enlivening and arousal. Also, the skin on the “inside” of the body, the places that don’t usually get exposed to the elements, are usually more sensitive to touch than other parts of the body. Explore sensation on the inside of the thighs, the crook of the elbow, just underneath the armpits and down the sides of the torso.

Speed – For starters, it’s a great idea when giving a sensual massage to S…L…O…W…. D…O…W…N. Life is kind of busy these days and we can often be in a rush to get somewhere. But if we’re trying to rush a massage, it’s not going to feel very sensual or erotic. Rather it might feel like another thing on the to do list!

massageSo when you’re stroking your partner, notice the speed at which your hands are moving. Then half that speed, then half it again! Can you touch their body so slowly that their skin begins to crave your touch?

When you’ve mastered really slowing the pace down, then it’s time to explore playing with different speeds. Yes a massage can be delightful given sensually slowly, but equally yummy can be the contrast between different speeds. Moving from slowness and swiftness and back again.

This is where a sense of playfulness can really come in. One “S” that you don’t want in sensual massage is “Seriousness”! Trying to get it right and being stuck in your head means you will miss all the delicious possibilities of simply following the desires of the body.

One of the easiest ways to slow down the pace is by bringing awareness to our breathing. When we’re excited or nervous, our breathing tends to become shallow and fast. Bringing our attention to our breath can help bring us into a deeper state of awareness so that we can flow with ease. Try breathing in and out through your mouth rather than your nose, sucking the air in as if through a straw, for an energising and enlivening breathing practise.

Allow your hands and body to flow with the breath. Don’t think about it, just move into it and see how the two naturally want to come together.

Surprise – Sensual massage doesn’t only have to be given with the hands, and we don’t have to limit ourselves to only stroking the skin. Surprise your partner with erotic touches that they might not be expecting.

How about bringing other parts of your body into play – the hair can be a delightful sensual tool and not just long-haired people but those with beards can also play too! Breasts can tantalise with touches to the body. Similarly a cock can bring a sexily arousing spark to the moment. Or slide your whole body over that of your partner for full body contact.

sensualtoys_largePlay with different kinds of sensation as you stroke – light scratches with the nails can be very arousing. Similarly a playful smack on the buttocks can be enlivening in the right moment. Then go back to strokes.

Keep taking note of your partner’s responses. A wriggle and giggle, or goosebumps on the body, often means they are enjoying your offerings. If there is no response or they seem to have contracted from your touch, then change to something else. If in doubt, ask! There’s no point doing something that’s not enjoyable to them. But remember, this is a chance to play and explore so it’s OK to not get it right all the time.

Stillness – never underestimate the power of stillness. We can often be so caught up with the idea that we have to be doing something that we miss the more subtle sensations that arise in stillness.

From time to time, try simply laying your hands on your partner and allowing your breath to come into resonance with theirs. You may also wish to gaze into their eyes during this moment. WARNING: this one is intimate and DEEEEEEP!

Or here’s another way to explore stillness… after a playful moment with lots of movement and sensation, remove your hands completely so that their body can feel the energy raised and soak up all that has been experienced. This will also leave them wanting more.

Lastly, a beautiful way to bring a sensual massage to completion is to hold your partner in the “7 Chakra Embrace” (thank you sexuality pioneer Joseph Kramer for this wonderful technique).

Place one hand on their genitals (connecting to the root chakra) and another on the top of their head (connecting to the crown chakra). Invite your partner to breathe – as they breathe in, they can imagine energy going up from the root to the crown and as they breathe out imagine energy going from crown to root. This makes a complete circuit of energy which allows you to fully integrate the delicious sensual experience you have just had.

Enjoy!

Moving into Stillness…

When you come into physical connection with another human being… whether a hug or sexual experience – what do you usually do?

  • Do you feel a pressure to be ‘doing something’ in order to let them know you’re there?
  • Do you feel compelled to respond in a certain way in order to keep their attention?

Often all this “busy-ness” of interaction means we miss the more subtle qualities present when two human beings come together. The simple gift of our presence is already enough. When we are constantly stirring the energy up with our movement, we can miss the deep nourishment that comes from fully being there with one another.

More-Stillness-580x252

It’s like we keep dropping stones into a pond and the water is being constantly churned up. Why not try letting the ripples settle and see what’s there?

I would like to offer a practice for you to try, which I shared recently at a weekend workshop with the wondrous London Faerie and Claire at Sacred Pleasures. It is surprising in its simplicity, yet has the potential to be profoundly powerful. You can do this with a friend or a lover, clothed or naked as you prefer. It’s an opportunity to drop into deep presence with one another.

Moving into Stillness – A Practice

• With your partner, find a position that’s feels good to you both (see suggestions below)

• Take time to get really comfortable – you may even want to put cushions under different parts of your body so that they feel supported

• You can set a timer for a specific length of time so that you don’t have to worry about checking the clock. Around 15-20 minutes per position is good.

• If you become physically uncomfortable – slowly and without speaking – change position. Although this temporarily disrupts the experience, it’s better to take a moment to move than endure many moments of being uncomfortable

stillness-of-water-terry-cosgrave• Then simply drop in…

• Allow words to fall away

• Allow movement to fall away. If one person forgets and starts stroking or caressing, just take their hand and hold it for a moment as a reminder to move into stillness

• Allow your breath to become relaxed and deep. You may find that your breathing synchronises to the same rise and fall. No need to force anything. Simply allow whatever wants to be

• Notice any thoughts you might have (“Am I doing this right?” “Am I too heavy?” “Are they bored?”) and let them go • Allow yourself to melt into one another

• Release any expectations and simply see what arises

• Allow yourself to drop in and be

 

Suggested Positions:

In each position, the key is to get as much body contact as you can. Especially around the chest area. Let your hearts touch!

Yab Yum – the classic Tantric position. One person sits cross legged and the other sits in their lap. Wrap your arms around one another

Spooning – lie down together. One person nestles behind and fits their body round the other. Like spoons neatly lying in the drawerspooning

Lover’s Embrace – another position from Tantra. Two people lie facing one another and one snuggles into the other, with arms around one another and legs entwined

Bonding Bodies – my personal favourite! One person lies down and the other lies on top, covering them with their whole body. Even if you are physically bigger or heavier than your partner, when the weight is spread out and the whole body is relaxed, you can both rest in this position comfortably.

Don’t try to hold your body weight up as this will create a distracting tension. The person underneath can be face up or face down depending on which you feel most comfortable

Enjoy the pure delight of being completely present with someone through stillness…

Stepping into the Mystery

You know how it goes… you get up, go about your day, get things done, go to bed, start all over again… And yet there is this tangible sense that there is something ‘more’ life has to offer.

That ‘more’ is inexorably linked to the ‘Mystery’ – of life, of love, of being a being on this planet.

what ifWhen we only engage with the world through the protective certainty of what we already know and what we have previously done life can become monotonous and stagnant. Even relationships and interactions with others can fall into well-worn grooves. One day we’re in the flush of excitement of new found connection and intimacy and the next we’re seeing the same old stories resurfacing and find ourselves thinking “Here we go again…”

There’s a comforting familiarity in following convention and living the kind of life people around us expect. We have our pre-defined roles, we know what to do, how to behave and respond. This can have many different flavours. So just because you are living a more ‘alternative’ or ‘spiritual’ existence, doesn’t mean you have escaped this. You may have simply adopted a new set of conventions by which to live and express yourself in the world.

Internally this creates a kind of inflexibility. A sense that the world should be a certain way and a frustration when it’s not. A state of apathy that is always lurking in the background of your life.

stepping-into-the-unknown“The fear that fixes us inside our fabricated costumes was instilled in us when we were too young to realise what was going on… By the time we reach adulthood we have long since forgotten – if we ever knew – that our show keeps us alienated from our dearest treasure, the wild and magical mystery of a being who is not subject to anyone’s control and celebrates life”Alan Lowen

 

So how do we step out of those old patterns that keep us stifled and shut down, and into the vitality and freshness of life that is our birthright?

It is often said that as humans we have a fear of the unknown. When we move away from the safety of what we know, we open ourselves to new potentials and that can be frightening. We ask ourselves: what might happen, how will I know how to respond, and how will I deal with it? We have had a long relationship with the known, and the unknown is uncharted territory. We’ve never been here before.

Stepping into the Mystery is not simply moving into the unknown, but consciously choosing to engage with that which can’t be known.

Moment to moment we drop our ideas of what is happening in order to fully experience what’s unfolding through us. We release old consciousness in order to create room for new consciousness to emerge (thank you Shakti Malan for this insight). When we step into the Mystery we let go of all that has gone before so that the vital force of Life can move through us.

This is where the magic happens. This is when possibilities that we could never have imagined become revealed to us. New solutions to old problems, synchronistic connections, healing and even miracles abound.

How does it work? How does it do what it does? Who knows – that’s the Mystery!

Doorway to the soulThis can sound like some kind of new age cop-out for all things unexplained, but only if you are determined that the best way to relate to the world is to understand it with your mind. The mind has an important function, but it’s not the only part of us with which we give and receive awareness. There is also our body, heart and soul.

“Let go into the mystery
Let yourself go
You’ve got to open up your heart
That’s all I know”
~ Van Morrison

 

4 Practices for opening your heart and stepping into the Mystery:

Dance – dance forms such as 5 Rhythms, Biodanza and Ecstatic Dance create space for spontaneity and dropping of conventions around movement, behaviour and expression

Improv theatre/comedy – how spontaneous can you be? If the thought of being without a script and responding completely in the moment freaks you out, then give improv a go and be amazed

Ecstatic Breathwork – we breathe every moment of every day, yet bringing conscious awareness to our breath can be a powerful portal to ecstasy and reaching new states of being

Tantric Massage – not just a “massage with a happy ending”, tantric massage with a practitioner who is immersed in tantric practice can be a profound journey into yourself. There is no set way the massage will evolve or pre-defined response. It may be pleasure, it may be catharsis, there may be laughter or tears. Whichever way it goes, you go into the Mystery.

Self-Pleasuring for Self-Discovery

marci_mcdonaldIf someone were to ask you how often and how you masturbate, what would your reaction be… Shock? Surprise? Shame?

Touching our own bodies for pleasure is generally considered something very private. In some cultures and religious philosophies it is even seen as a sin. While other people, are of the opinion that you only do it when you have no other choice; ‘self-service’ as some kind of second class citizen to someone who can push your buttons for you.

However, nothing could be further from the exciting potential that self-pleasuring can be a doorway to self-discovery.

For a moment consider this… if we don’t know how to pleasure ourselves, how can we expect another human being to do it for us? If we’re not in touch with how we like to be touched, then how can we share our preferences for pleasure? If we don’t know orgasmic states within our own being, then how can we hope to go there with someone else?

Self-pleasuring, however, is not only preparation for being with an other. It’s also a valuable tool in cultivating our sexual energy. You know that feeling you’ve got when you’re really turned on to life? Well imagine you can turn yourself on at will through plugging into your sexual power.

If you would like to experience the aliveness that can come from making love to yourself, then here are a few suggestions for stellar self-pleasuring:

  • Make the environment lovely for yourself – even simply lighting a candle can bring sacredness and specialness to the experience
  • Set an alarm for a specific length of time and use this as your guide for exploration rather than the goal of climax
    Touch your whole body, not just your genitals
  • Try out different pressure, strokes, rhythms and speeds – not just doing what you always do
  • Pay exquisite attention to what’s going on inside your body, be with the sensations. Release any mental images or fantasies as you drop into your body
  • Breathe deeply and fully to allow your body to open and expand into greater pleasure. Many people hold their breath when they get close to climax but if you keep breathing fully you can experience a deeper pleasure
  • Allow your body to move and undulate rather than holding yourself rigid (again many people tense up as the energy builds)
  • Experiment with touching your genitals and holding or stroking other parts of your body at the same time to help bring energy and vitality to them. In particular, try holding one hand on your heart as you pleasure yourself to invite in a sense of self-love
  • When the time is complete, if you wish to move towards climax then go for it. Otherwise you can integrate the energy by doing a technique such as the ‘Clench and Hold’ (Big Draw) or by simple breathing energy up the body from genitals to the crown on the head with the inhale and down with the exhale

Although some of these practises may seem unusual at first, trying them about and being curious about the differences felt, can open you to a whole new path of pleasurable self-discovery.

What could be conscious about sexuality anyway?

Recently I attended a Festival of Tantra and Conscious Sexuality at Osho Leela in Dorset – five days dedicated to exploring our sensual and sexual selves.

One of the questions that kept popping up was “What is meant when we say ‘Conscious Sexuality’?”

And one of the answers that kept filtering through is that it’s not so much about what you do, but how you do it.

So it’s not about the number of times, orgasms, or different positions but rather the quality of awareness and integration we bring to our sexual experiences.

Consider this… You can devour a meal simply to fill the hunger in your belly, or you can savour every mouthful turning it into a memorable gourmet experience. You can have a song playing in the background of your life, or you can close your eyes and listen to the music so intently it breaks you open and unleashes your emotions. You can see a sunset or you can allow the beauty of nature to permeate your every pore with the sublime magnificence of the world.

You can experience sexual experience (and by this I mean everything from partnered sex to solo self-pleasuring) as a necessity of the body, or as a portal to different dimensions of oneself and another. When you approach love-making with ourself or another with awareness, it becomes a profoundly life-enhancing experience. Conscious sexual experience shakes and stirs, transports and transforms, lifts us up and leaves us breathless, and ultimately delivers us at the doorway to the Divine making us one with all that is.

So the question is… how do you like yours?